Not positive, but it sounds like this will be your first time. here are some tips that can help you get some great shots (If you already know all this, then consider this a "points" bulletin for others. :
1. Don't be afraid to ask somebody if you can get a shot inside / really close to what they are doing. Most balloonists are perfectly ok with photographers getting "in their face" and as long as you’re polite, they are more then happy to help out.
2. For the impossible shots, such as "in the basket" or shooting through the exhaust hole on top, offer a copy of the shots to the balloonist. many of my friends have done that and a few have even received free balloon rides for the panoramic view shots.
3. When somebody says move when the balloon is rising, move. the tether the person(s) are holding that attaches to the top can pull as much as 400-500 pounds, so if you get in the way, they will plow through you if needed. Although, if you want to get the shot of them holding the balloon down, just ask and tell them you understand what is going on and will move quickly as soon as you get the shot. (I usually drop my bag a few feet away so nothing can drop)
4. Dress in layers, the mornings can be very, very cold, but as the day progresses, temps up to 75-80 with full un-shaded sun are common. The best days to shoot are when it is very cold because they use less gas and can play around more with the jets giving you the dawn glow which is beautiful.
5. There are so many people there that if you drop something, you will probably never find it. So, in short, hold on to your gear for dear life. I can't tell you how many lens caps and hoods I have lost there.
6. Lastly, enjoy the photography, but also take some time to watch what’s going on without the camera. The sensation during mass ascension is dizzying and beautiful, indescribable if you are in the center of the park.
joegolf68 wrote in post #4024102
Yep, that is a real possibility. I guess Southwest would allow that and not ding me for two check ins.
Thanks all for the kind replies. I really look forward to seeing all of those balloons and the challenge of getting some decent images.